2008 marks the end of the first cycle of the Streamlined Open Method of Coordination on Social Protection and Social Inclusion (2006-8) and the beginning of the new cycle (2008-11). The new cycle (2008-11) is timed deliberately to coincide with the revised Lisbon Strategy cycle. This new Guidance note therefore sets out to provide the guidelines for member states and stakeholders on the objectives and process for the new cycle in the development of the National Strategic Reports (2008-11) and its relationship to the Lisbon National Reform Programmes (2008-11).
In its response to the guidance note for the Strategic Reports 2008-11, EAPN would like to highlight its satisfaction, but insists it would have liked more time for consultation.
EAPN welcomes particularly the focus on poverty and the demand for quantifiable targets on reduction of poverty and social exclusion and the strengthened section on governance and participation.
However EAPN feels that the note needs to provide stronger guidance on a more ambitious, integrated strategy, with clearer policy messages, leading to 2010.
EAPN would want to see the promotion of an active planning cycle and an adequate yearly evaluation mechanism, ( in line with the Lisbon National Reform Programmes process) as well as the thematic policy focus.
More specific guidance needs to be made on feeding out (contribution of Lisbon to social cohesion) and on the delivery of social inclusion through Structural Funds.
Although the note provides a much improved focus on governance and participation, EAPN would have liked more specific references to the role of civil society and NGOs and proposals of key principles for improving the quality of participation, drawing on the Peer Review on the Irish National Social Inclusion Forum on order to benchmark performance.
EAPN very much hopes that EAPN proposals will be taken into account in the deliberations in the meetings leading up to the 2008 Spring Council.